Cyclists have reacted with anger after Cycle Superhighway 11 (CS11) improvements at the Swiss Cottage gyratory were delayed by Westminster Council. Initially unveiled while Boris Johnson was Mayor of London, work on the project had been due to begin on Monday.
When it emerged that Westminster Council was seeking a judicial review last month, it was accused by campaigners of putting political motivations ahead of people’s safety.
Swiss Cottage is actually in the neighbouring London Borough of Camden, but a spokeswoman for Westminster Council explaining that its residents were “overwhelmingly opposed” to the proposals and had “raised concerns about the impact of traffic displacement on congestion and air quality in the streets adjacent to the proposed route.”
She said: “We have been in discussions over the last two years with TfL (Transport for London) about residents’ concerns but, despite assurances, we have yet to receive any further information about the wider impacts of the scheme and how these may be mitigated.”
She added: “As TfL is starting to proceed with the Swiss Cottage section without our support for the scheme as a whole, we have been left with no choice but to back our residents and to legally challenge the scheme.”
Two years ago a consultation found 60 per cent supported the plans, which also included closing gates at Regents Park to motor vehicles for 20 hours each day.
In January, London’s former cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, declared CS11 “dead” in response to watered down plans in which only two gates to Regent’s Park would be shut to motorists and only for shorter hours.
Construction on the Swiss Cottage gyratory element had been due to start on Monday, but The London Evening Standard reports that Mr Justice Holgate yesterday imposed a ban until a full hearing on September 6.
A spokesman for the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “We are disappointed that Westminster council have gone to court to oppose our plans, and we will do everything we can to deliver these critical safety improvements as quickly as possible.”
Simon Munk, of London Cycling Campaign, said: “So, as a woman fights for her life following a collision at one dangerous junction, where work has been delayed for years, comes news that City of Westminster are delaying much-needed work at another dangerous junction. Truly shameful behaviour.”
Justin McKie, of Regent’s Park Cyclists, said: “It’s utterly shameful that while a young woman fights for her life after being brutally run over by a cement truck at another dangerous roundabout this week, pro-car lobbyists from NW3 (Hampstead) are celebrating the stay of execution for another appallingly dangerous junction.
“Swiss Cottage gyratory is not even within Westminster borough, so their ongoing campaign against cycling and healthier streets has genuinely reached a new low.
“They continue to play Sadiq Khan, outmanoeuvring him politically on any project which attempts to encourage people out of their cars. With a backdrop of this week’s pollution warnings in London, it’s sad to think that Councillor Nickie Aiken (Westminster council leader) must be wheezing with delight at this cycling setback.”